Wednesday, 18 November 2015

New Website

Thank you for viewing the Jacob's Crackers Blog. In November 2015 we moved to a new website so we can provide our readers with more reviews, recipes, competitions and travel pieces.



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Sunday, 6 September 2015

WIN TWO TICKETS TO A ONE DAY WILD FOODS MASTERCLASS AT BROOKLODGE & MACREDDIN VILLAGE

 WILD FOODS MASTERCLASS AT     BROOKLODGE & MACREDDIN VILLAGE





Set in the rolling hills of Co. Wicklow, the Award winning BrookLodge & Macreddin

Village invites you on a road of discovery, exploring and learning all about Wild foods.

Based around foraging, cooking and preserving wild foods that grow in abundance

around us, the MasterClass with The Chefs of The Strawberry Tree Restaurant and

Evan Doyle, co­author of the best­selling 'Wild Food' book will cover identification as well

as instruction on how to gather, cook and preserve foods using traditional methods such

as sugar, oil, drying, vinegars and alcohol.



Participants will receive a welcome tour of Macreddin Village including The Kitchens and

The Wild Foods Pantry, followed by in depth tuition taking them through a full calendar of

natural Wild Foods that are available along 327,000km of our Irish Hedgerows.

After enjoying lunch in The Waterside Lounge, participants will be brought outdoors with

The Strawberry Tree’s Wild Food Forager to do some gentle foraging around Macreddin

Village.



The Strawberry Tree Restaurant at The BrookLodge is Ireland’s Only Certified Organic

and Wild Restaurant offering a daily changing menu that reflects the seasons and

featuring the freshest organic and wild foods, many grown to order on nearby organic

farms, or foraged by their own chefs and full time wild food forager, along the lanes and

in the fields and woods surrounding Macreddin. Winner of Best Restaurant in Leinster at

the recent 2015 Food & Wine Awards.

The Wild Foods MasterClass including a two course lunch is a steal at €95pp

This one day Course includes: Tour, Tea or Coffee with Macreddin’s homemade biscuits,

Tuition, Master Class & 2 Course Lunch.

Reserve your Wild Foods MasterClass Course by contacting BrookLodge & Macreddin

Village on 0402 36444 or email reservations@brooklodge.com for dates available .

In addition, those attending the Wild Food MasterClass, who wish to enjoy an overnight

stay at BrookLodge will be offered a special B&B rate.

COMPETITION:

To win 2 tickets for The Wild Food MasterClass on the 15th of september 2015, Please

follow @jacobscrackers9 on Twitter and tweet Wild Foods MasterClass @Macreddin 


or

Answer this simple question

  • Evan Doyle is the author of which best selling book ?
Send your answers to jacobscrackers9@gmail.com



A lucky winner will be picked on Sunday 12th Sept 2015

Good luck

©2012-2015;Robert Jacob;jacob'scrackers;jacobscrackers9; All rights reserved.




Monday, 31 August 2015

Barcelona & Sitges. Spain. Travel feature



Barcelona is Spain's second largest city after Madrid, an enclave of Catalan Culture and a world apart from the rest of Spain, here both Spanish and Catalan are widely spoken. This is a city where Culture, Architecture and Gastronomy makes it one of the most attractive cities in the world; A city that is always on the move and ever changing, so there is always new things to discover. Barcelona has certainly reinvented itself since hosting the 1992 Olympics, it is now a cultural mecca and gastronomic capital.
For me apart from the obvious touristic attractions , there are no better ways in getting to know a city and it's people than through it's Cuisine and markets and Barcelona has plenty to offer on both fronts.
Probably best known for the fantastic architecture of Antonio Gaudi, the genius of Catalan modernism, so we started our trip in doing just that; Discovering the works of Gaudi, whose imprints  are scattered all around the city, leaving the rest of our trip for exploring and immersing ourselves into the life of the city through food.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Jamie's Italian. Dundrum. Dublin 16

TheTaste.ie

What’s not to love…Jamie’s Italian by Robert Jacob

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Inspired by Jamie Oliver’s passion and love for the Italian way of life, Jamie’s Italian allows us a furtive glimpse into the mother of all European Latin Cuisines.
The Cuisine of Italy is a reflection of this wonderful country of sapphire blue skies,land of the rolling hills, the ever winding roads with their tall elongated cypress trees, terraced vineyards, olives groves with their curiously twisted trees, glimpses of sienna red tiled roofs and above all, of warm, generous and hospitable people.
The country’s culinary tradition is as long as its history and an Italian meal is a leisurely, sociable affair, often taken in the open air, however it is very important to remember that Italian Cuisine is strongly regional in character and across the menu here you can choose from the colourful pasta dishes and fish of Southern Italy or the rustic meat and poultry dishes of Tuscany and of course the pizzas, so there is something for every one.
Staying away from the typical Italian starter of an Antipasti platter, which usually includes an assortment of Cured Meats, Olives, Vegetables, Salads and Cheeses, we dived straight into the deep end and started with Crispy Squid with garlicky mayo, lemon & chilli @ €8.25.


Jamie's Oliver PIC 1


While very simple, they  were crispy and the squid still very tender and moist and the chilli garlicky mayo added refreshing notes to this tasty dish and all were very well seasoned.


Jamie's Italian  PIC2


Flash fried Prawns with chilli, lemon & flat leaf parsley @ €9.95 again while it was a simple dish, it was well executed. The prawns were juicy and meaty and the sauce had just the right amount of acidity from the white wine to make perfect.


Jamie's Italian PIC 3


The Crab Tagliolini @ €16.95, with lots of sweet crab meat & just a hint of chilli, lemon,tomatoes, creme fraiche and perfectly cooked pasta, it reminded me of the ones, I ‘ve had in Italy, which were simple and allowed the freshness of the produce to sing to you. A delicious main indeed.
Meat lovers could try the Wild rabbit Tagliolini @ €15.95, which consisted of a slow cooked ragu with garlic, herbs, mascarpone & lemon.


Jamie's Italian PIC 4


The Prawn Linguini with shaved fennel, tomatoes, chilli & rocket @ €16.95, offered once again perfectly cooked pasta, “al dente”, they were complimented by a decadent yet simple sauce of roasted baby plum tomatoes & shaved fennel which coated rather than gelled the delicate pasta . With a generous dusting of parmegiano & rocket, it was simply delicious.
Italians rarely finish a meal with a dessert; Cheeses and fresh fruits are normally served instead. But for those with a sweet tooth, there are the traditional Italian desserts on offer.


Jamie's Italian PIC 5


An Amalfi Lemon Cheesecake @ €6.75 was creamy mascarpone and not overtly sweet. Perfect consistency with  subtle hints of lemon & topped by an Italian Meringue, it was served with lemon curd and macerated blackberries.


What’s not to love…
With a good selection of wine that can be purchased by the glass or bottle, the place was packed to the rafters, and while I didn’t like all the screaming kids around, making it so noisy that it was nearly impossible to have a conversation, the staff were most attentive and charming.


Jamie’s Italian
Dundrum Town Centre
Dundrum. Dublin 16
01- 2980600


©2012-2015;Robert Jacob;jacob'scrackers;jacobscrackers9; All rights reserved 
 


Thursday, 4 June 2015

Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, Merrion Hotel. Dublin 2



Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Restaurant Forty One. The Magic of Graham Neville. The Taste Magazine May edition 2105





Restaurant Forty One “ The Magic of Chef Graham Neville “ by Robert Jacob
REST 41 HEADER-1





There are many things to like about Graham Neville cooking; Not only does he serve some exquisitely refined cooking but he also remains true to the provenance of the produce he uses going to the extent of cultivating some of the vegetables and herbs he serves in his restaurant. It represents what a talented and ambitious young Chef with a serious Culinary pedigree, as he previously worked with the Michelin Star Chef Kevin Thornton, think what Irish Cuisine should be about nowadays and let’s not forget the address as it couldn’t get any better.





REST 41 , FRONTAGE





Occupying the first floor of what must be one of Dublin’s finest town houses, an ivy clad Georgian building, overlooking St Stephen’s Green is Restaurant Forty One.

With wood panelling, over sized gilt mirrors and heavy damask, the decor is opulent yet very very elegant and exudes old world charm. We were immediately at ease in the cosy dining room. Tables are well spaced out and seating very comfortable. The staff are poised and flawlessly professional.

We started with an Amuse bouche of Chicken Ravioli & Porcini Mushroom. A single ravioli sat in a pool of fragrant mushroom cream. It was magnificent with great depth of flavours.







My starter of Annagassan Smoked Salmon with Clogherhead crab was elegantly presented, topped with a lattice of fine match sticks of Granny Smith Apple, a flavour constellation of finely chopped capers, red onion, egg yolk, egg white and salmon roe. The Crabmeat was sweet and perfectly seasoned while the wafer thin Smoked Salmon was delicate with just a hint of smokiness. This was no conjuring game, as both produce sang the authenticity of their provenance.








Our  mains of  John Dory stuffed with a Prawn Mousse, Wild garlic, Artichoke, Noilly Prat Sauce was exactingly executed and delivered. Again, perfectly seasoned and cooked fish with the ethereal texture of the prawn mousse and slivers of Wild garlic as a garnish. It was pure bliss. What intrigued about this dish is that  it managed to be  light but delivered a full punch of comfort food pleasure. How, I so wished I had taken a second helping of bread from the starter now, to mop up all that Noilly Prat vermouth sauce.




REST 41 PIC 5



For dessert, a Millefeuille, Praline. Butternut squash and roast lemon puree, While it tasted very good, it lacked a bit of finesse in presentation.







However across was a sweet smelling Warm Irish Orchard Apple Tarte Tatin, Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream, it was classic in its approach but my god it tasted divine, with perfect pastry, fruits with still a bite and delicious caramel, With the ice cream , it delivered a perfect mouthful in textures, temperature and flavours.







There is no doubt in my mind that Graham Neville is on the starting block as one of the next great Irish Chefs and if you haven’t visited Restaurant Forty One yet, then you are missing out on something very special.



Restaurant Forty One
Residence Club
41, St Stephen’s Green
Dublin 2
T: 01-6620000
E: info@restaurantfortyone.ie

www.restaurantfortyone.ie



©2012-2015;Robert Jacob;jacob'scrackers;jacobscrackers9; All rights reserved 


Monday, 4 May 2015

Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey. The Taste Magazine May edition 2015





When Irish eyes are smiling “ Rediscover the Original Irish Whiskey “ by Robert Jacob

Midleton Dair Ghaelach pic 1-1



There was a time when Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey was the World’s favourite. For over a century, it defined the very essence of Irish Whiskey, it’s complexity, full of flavour and lingering taste flowing from Dublin to New York via London.

History was unkind and Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey all but disappeared from view, however while new fashions and trends came, nestled in the deep wilderness of Southern Ireland,it enjoyed an illicit romanticism and a group of devoted distillers in Midleton kept the flame alive and thanks to them, you can now rediscover the Original Irish Whiskey for yourself.



Midleton Distillery is unique in many ways, not least because it is where the tradition of Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey has been protected, nurtured and enhanced for almost 200 years.
All Pot Still Whiskeys at Midleton are triple distilled known as the holy trinity in lustrous cathedral sized copper pot stills in individual batches. As in any premium product, it is a slow, expensive and time consuming process. It is a carefully crafted Irish spirit, made from un malted barley and aged in oak casks.

It is said that it is socially acceptable to hide your Single Pot Still Whiskey from unappreciative guests, I couldn’t agree more for Single Pot Still is so good, it breaks and mends your heart at the same time.



Here are a few for you to try :

Yellow Spot 

irish_yel1Sophisticated & complex. Creamy from the unmalted barley with pot still spices from the Malaga casks with notes of red apples & toasted oak.






Redbreast 12 year old 

Redbreast 12 Year Old USFull flavoured with a harmonious balance of spicy Xmas stewed fruits leaving a comforting finish at the back of your throat.






Powers Signature Release 

signature_small

An unhurried journey through an impressive flavour spectrum. Succulently sweet with herbal undertones on the nose, leading into the warming flavours of charred oaks with hints of melon and pears.






Midleton Barry Crocket 

MidletonBarryCrockett-lightbox-seElegant aroma of Vanilla and old spice notes revealing its years spent in American’s oak casks.






Red Breast 21 year Old

Redbreast 21 Year Old Bottle pic 3Remarkable aroma spanning fresh tropical fruits, rich dried fruits with a creamy mouth feel from the barley where it all began.
A new member of the Single Pot Still family is soon to be launched by Midleton. The new Midleton Dair Ghaelach will be the first of its kind to be entirely finished in Virgin Irish Oak from Grinsell’s wood in Co. Kilkenny. This exciting new whiskey is the result of a six year exploration by Midleton into using native oak.



Go n-éirí an bóthar leat.

©2012-2015;Robert Jacob;jacob'scrackers;jacobscrackers9; All rights reserved 


Jamon Iberico. The most famous tapas in Spain. The Taste Magazine May edition 2015





The Most Famous Tapas in Spain – Jamon Iberico by Robert Jacob

Iberico Ham 1



Tapas has become very fashionable in the last few years, but what exactly is tapas and where does it come from? Some enlightenment came when I recently attended a tasting of Iberico Ham with Master Carver Mario Hiraldo, a leading authority on Iberico Ham in the World during a recent visit to Dublin. On the word of the Master himself, the word Tapa, the Spanish word for lid, specifically the lid created by slices of bread that innkeepers would thoughtfully place on top of customer’s wine glass to keep the flies and dust away. But when customers began taking bites from the bread, the Andalusians began placing a morsel of something on top, may it be slivers of Manchego cheese or Iberico Ham and hence a new Spanish institution was born and who knew that years later it would take the world by storm.





Iberico ham or “jamon iberico” is not just the most revered cured meat in Spain, it also has enormous cultural significance and dates back to pig breeding in pre-Roman times as well as meat-curing and both have remained largely unchanged over the centuries. It is said that whenever the King Of Spain travels, his Chefs bring along their own Iberico Ham.

Today, it has pride of place in Spanish gastronomy and is now being discovered worldwide.Produced from Black Iberian Pigs or cross bred pigs as long as they are at least 75% Iberico. These noble animals are primarily reared in Western and South Western regions of Spain. The methods used surpasses what most of us think about organic, the pigs are allowed to roam freely in nearly 1 hectare of pastures per head, to feed naturally on grass, herbs and above all acorns. This constant foraging means the pigs gets plenty of exercise and in turn this forms the fat in its muscles, giving the meat a signature succulence and buttery texture.

The curing process takes an astonishing two years and unlike Prosciutto or Parma ham, Iberico ham is not covered in lard during the curing process nor any other external ingredients that would affect its inherent flavour. Hand sliced, wafer thin and eaten immediately is the best way to enjoy the incomparable flavours. Each section of the leg will provide you with its own characteristic, textures and flavours.



pic 3-1

From the The Tasting Plate
–  At 12 O’clock, The Cana – top end nearer the hoof delivered a drier yet very sweet mouthfeel.

–  At 2 O’clock, The Maza – with lots of marbling was rather nutty in flavour

–  At 5 0’clock, The Contra – slightly lower on the leg, has more fat and delivered spicier notes and buttery mouthfeel. We were encourage to lay a piece on the back of our hand for a few seconds and then taste. It was pure heaven and melted like butter on our tongue.

– At 7 0’clock, The Babilla – rump end of the ham contains less fat and the meat is darker, leaner, salty but well structured.

– At 9 O’clock , The Punta – was very lean with rather mushroomy flavours.
All these morsels were washed down by the finest Sherry from JEREZ. The Fino was tangy while the Manzanilla with less of a bouquet was drier but my favourite was the Lollo Rosso which was dry and sweet.



pic 4



With summer fast approaching, a selection of these bite size gastronomic glories served with drinks before lunch or dinner will go hand in hand with friendship and good conversation. So tuck in, forget the cares of the day and linger, Spanish style with your favourite people.

Available from the Following Stockists:
Black Pig, Donnybrook. www.blackpig.ie, Fallon & Byrne, Suffolk street. www. fallonandbyrne.com, Sheridan Cheese Mongers, St Anne Street. www.sheridanscheesemongers.com and Supervalu,  www.supervalu.ie



©2012-2015;Robert Jacob;jacob'scrackers;jacobscrackers9; All rights reserved 


Sunday, 5 April 2015

IL POSTO, Style & Sustenance . The Taste Magazine April edition 2015





Style & Sustenance from Il Posto Restaurant by Robert Jacob

Il Posto



You would not think glamour and the food industry held many similarities, but in conversation with Amanda Jackson, one of the two sisters that co-owned and run IL Posto Restaurant on St Stephen’s green soon changes that preconception.

Following stints working in restaurants across America for 10 years, the charming and very glamorous blonde decided to return home and hasn’t looked back since as Il Posto celebrates their 12th birthday this year, no mean feat in an industry where a mere 7% see it through to their first birthday.




So you are 12 years in business, how do you feel about your big birthday? 
We are extremely proud. While it has been a lot of hard work, it has also been a most enjoyable, fruitful and discovering experience for both Susannah and I.

Have you always been in the restaurant industry? If so which restaurants did you work in?
I have worked in many restaurants across America, mainly in New York and Boston and prior to taking over Il Posto, I worked here as the manager. Susannah and I, both worked in Tante Zoe in Temple bar many moons ago as well.

When did you start/takeover Il posto? How come you decided to work with your sister?
When the previous American owners decided to move back to the States, I approached Susannah, who was then living in London, to come back home and for us to take over Il Posto and 12 years on, here we are.

How do you split the responsibilities? Who’s good at what?
We both work hands on in the restaurant and one of us is always here at any time. While Susannah looks after the business side of things, I mainly look after the PR & business development.

I believe your chefs are brothers also, how did that come about?
Oscar, our head chef is married to an old school friend of ours way back and likewise they moved back home and his brother followed on. Both were chefs in the states.

Whats the one thing you are most proud of about the restaurant?
Our regulars that returns again and again, this makes up for all the hard work and determination.

On the food, how would you describe it?
We serve an Italian / Mediterranean cuisine assembling and combining locally sourced seasonal ingredients.

What’s your favourite dish off the current menu?
It would have to be our ever popular Liver dish.

When you are away from il Posto where do you enjoy dining out?
Trocadero is one of my old time favourite as it is always good fun. For special occasion, I like dressing up and go to Ross Lewis’s Chapter One.

What is the one piece of advise you would give someone looking to setup a new restaurant?
Be prepared to work ultra hard, offer good value, have lots of determination, be original, experiment, go with the times and make it your own. Remember, there are no short cuts.

Table Talk : In conversation with Amanda Jackson
Il Posto Restaurant
10, St Stephen’s Green
Dublin 2
01-6794769


©2012-2015;Robert Jacob;jacob'scrackers;jacobscrackers9; All rights reserved 


ANANDA,The Taste Magazine April edition 2015





Ananda one of Dublin’s finest dining experiences  by Robert Jacob

photo 1

Ananda in Dundrum Town Centre is regarded as one of Dublin’s finest dining experiences, so it was no surprise that last month, Eurotoque Ireland welcomed their first Indian Chef as Comissioner.

The restaurant and its Executive Head Chef Sunil Ghai boasts an impressive array of awards between them over the years, from Best Chef, Best Restaurant in Dublin, to Best World Cuisine.
At Ananda, the very skilled and creative Sunil Ghai offers contemporary Indian Cuisine and he continues to delight us by constantly challenging our perception of what Indian Cuisine should be.

His approach is most of all focused on pure clean flavours and seasonal produce.
Using predominantly Indian flavours and traditional cooking methods but no more so as in keeping with his creative goals, he is not afraid to dip into molecular gastronomy often tinged with inspirations from French, Japanese and Far Eastern cuisine and reinvents them into something magical and makes it his own.

Here is his Deconstructed Papdi Chatt, Tamarind relish & Coriander foam



photo 2



A dessert of Masala Thandai Kulfi, Semolina crisp, Rose gel, Pistachio & semolina sand.



photo 3



With high ceiling, the décor at Ananda is airy yet opulent, all gelled together with suspended water lilies chandeliers and upholstery in jewels colours.

Tables are well spaced out and service here is slick and attentive.
An amuse bouche of Pan Seared Kilkee Scallops, Goan Chorizo, Pea & Celeriac puree and Yuzu foam.



IMG_3238



Beautifully presented, they shone like jewels and you couldn’t but resist the urge but to pluck them off the sombre dark slate and put them in your mouth. It was the right move as they melted like butter, silky, sweet and succulent on the tongue, the Goan Chorizio offered enough saltiness and spiciness in making these a perfect mouthful.

A starter of Duck served 2 -ways consisted of Smoked tikka, Potted Duck leg terrine, Plum & Kumquat chutney, Pickled cucumber was another favourite.



IMG_3244



The terrine was beautifully seasoned with plenty of chunky duck meat and ,while it was a pressed terrine, it was still very light.  The smoked tikka on the other hand was a robust dish, spicy, bold and full of flavours. With the fruity chutneys and sweet & sour pickled cucumber it was a real treat.
Not far behind was the Robata Guinea Fowl, Indian 5 spice, Aubergine & Pea crush, Parsnips fries and pomegranate.

Unapologetic, sitting atop a mound of vegetables crush, it was tender and beautifully cooked. A perfect way to savour this fragrant free-range supreme of Guinea fowl from the Japanese Robata grill and the more traditional Indian Tandoori clay oven. The combination of both methods of cooking, offered wonderful depth and roundness of flavours.
The vegetable crush and parsnip fries while adding contrast and texture, were equally delicious on their own.

Having eaten here before and sampled other dishes that we knew were equally superlative, this time around,for mains, we wanted to try something more traditional and the Kitchen duly obliged without any fuss.
We opted for Black Tiger Prawns Jalfrezi, organic garlic & onions.



IMG_3248



Delicate in flavour but absolutely beautiful. The prawns were succulent yet indulgent. The sauce was tangy and spicy as it is meant to be, with lots of Chevene onions to sweeten  and tame the green chillies, while some of the freshness of the Coriander was sacrificed at the alter of flavour, it’s fragrant aroma was still in evidence.

To say that this dish was simply delicious would be an understatement and injustice. It was sublime.
Wicklow Lamb with brown onions, Cardamon & fresh Coriander was another winner.



IMG_3240



The sauce alone won me over for it’s wonderful depth of flavour and creaminess. The lamb just fell apart at the touch of ones fork. With a garnish of fresh coriander to reintroduce a lightness and freshness, this dish was just so good that I must pester Sunil for the recipe, for Curries doesn’t get any better than this one.

A Chocolate & hazelnut bar, Orange sorbet, Macaron and frosted raspberries was sinfully good and looked like it was lovingly created in a Michelin * kitchen.



IMG_3256



A rich chocolate parfait with plenty of crushed roasted hazelnuts. It was silky , creamy and not overtly sweet. Perfect Macaron with  crisp outer shells and gooey centre of tangy orange cream and smooth Orange sorbet completed this heavenly dessert.

This was a perfect meal and evening. Without doubt, we can expect to see many great things from Sunil Ghai. They will undoubtedly be unexpected yet wonderful and rightly so that  he has won himself a prominent place among Ireland’s finest Chefs.

Ananda Restaurant Dundrum
Sandyford road
Dundrum Town Centre
Dublin 14
01- 2980099
www.anandarestaurant.com



©2012-2015;Robert Jacob;jacob'scrackers;jacobscrackers9; All rights reserved